Born in Waterford in 1962, Shirley McClure attended Newtown School & Trinity College Dublin, where she studied English Literature and Spanish. She undertook a Master's degree in Latin-American Studies at Liverpool University and went on to do a variety of jobs including volunteering in a mens' hostel in Liverpool; teaching English as a foreign language in Reading, Dublin, Vigo and Quito; tutoring in literacy and creative writing at the Dublin Institute of Adult Education and Tosach, an AnCo centre in Dublin's inner city; project work in Focus Point (now Focus ireland) which included drama, literacy and counselling; teaching English to Vietnamese refugees in Dublin. Since 1992 she has been a natural health practitioner and teacher. She practices shiatsu and aromatherapy (see www.shirleymcclure.com) and works with a number of community and holistic organisations, teaching and facilitating groups. She also teaches creative writing with a particular interest in writing and health.
She wrote her first poems at about the age of 8, encouraged by her teacher parents and artist and story-teller grandmother. She continued to write sporadically for many years, but got serious about it on her 40th birthday when her friends embarassed her by reading aloud several of her young poems. She knew she could do better, and has been attempting to convince herself of this ever since.
Shirley enjoys reading and performing her work at poetry events & festivals around the country, and runs creative writing classes & workshops. She is married to Philip W.Beck (www.ballycoe.com) and he and their dog, Minnie, feature in some of her poems.